When we talk about the best Flyweight bouts of the 1990's we have a lot of great bouts to pick from. Today we look at one of those as we bring you the latest in our Closet Classic Series and this is a sadly forgotten gem that ended in brutal fashion after what had been a hard, yet technical and punishing bout between a man seeking his 4th defense and a man looking to prove he belonged at world level.
Yuri Arbachakov (12-0, 11) vs Muangchai Kittikasem (20-1, 12)
Coming into the bout Thailand's Muangchai Kittikasem was the WBC Flyweight champion and a man who had recorded 3 defenses of the title. Although not a huge name in the west historically he was a excellent and gutsy fighter who had originally made his name at Light Flyweight, where he claimed the IBF title, before moving up in weight. Before moving up he had recorded 3 defenses of the IBF title, prior to losing the belt in 1990 to Michael Carbajal. The move up did him good and he would score 3 of his biggest victories at Flyweight. The first of those was his title win 1991, when he stopped Sot Chitalada, before following that up with a stoppage over Jung Koo Chang and a second win over Chitalada.
Although not the quickest, or the most skilled Kittikasem ticked a lot of boxed. He had under-rated speed, a good boxing brain solid power and an incredible will to win. He could be hurt, and could be dropped, but there was no disputing his hunger and desire and he had pulled out a win against Jung Koo Chang despite being dropped 3 times.
In the opposite corner was Japanese based Russian fighter Yuri Arbachakov, a fantastic amateur who had joined Kyoei and won his first 12 bouts without many issues. Those wins had included a 1990 win over Rolando Bohol, and a Japanese title win over Takahiro Mizuno. He had been tipped for big things when he turned professional and a world title was almost expected of him when he began his career given how good of an amateur he was. There was however no track record of Russian fighters making a mark on the professional ranks, and whilst he was a real talent, with incredibly heavy hands, there was also lots of questions still to be asked of him.
Prior to this bout Arbachakov had only heard the final bell once, and that was in a 10 round decision against the super durable Samanchai Chalermsri. Aside from that Arbachakov's longest bout was a 7th round TKO in his 4th professional bout, with none of the others going beyond round 5. He was destroying people, and sadly he wasn't facing stiff enough competition to really see what he was about. This however was going to be a bout where we found out if Arbachakov had what it took to be a star in the pros, or not.
In the opening round we saw technical stuff from both, Arbachakov was using his jab, controlling the distance and using his often under-rated movement to close the distance. Kittikasem on the other hand was being cautious, boxing off the backfoot and trying to see what the Russian had without taking much punishment. The tactics of the Thai saw him land some good counters through the opening round but right on the bell the power of Arbachakov dropped the Thai. The shot came as the bell was ringing and was waved off by the referee.
With Kittikasem feeling the power of the challenger at the end of round 1 he picked up his pace notably in round 2. The Thai was again on the back foot, but was a lot more willing to get off the ropes as Arbachakov continues to press in a very intelligent style. A right hand from the challenger with about 40 seconds of the round left instantly saw the tempo rise as we got some thrilling back and forth, but for the most part this was controlled, technical stuff.
We got more drama early in round 3 as Arbachakov was dropped. He seemed to be caught by surprise more than hurt but it was a cracking right hand that dropped him as he got a wake up call. Kittikasem wasn't here to just hand over his title. Soon afterwards the Thai was rocked from a couple of huge right hands and the bout got an injection of drama, then it got a larger shot as Kittikasem was dropped. The Thai was badly hurt but showed his grit to make his way through what had been a truly fantastic round.
With both men being down in round 3 it was clear both knew their opponent had the power to damage them. From here on the pace began to quicken, with Arbachakov showing what he could do with his movement and jab, and Kittikasem trying to to respond. The Thai would be rocked several times but fired back every time, giving the bout a sense of tension. The champion might have been behind, and taking some big shots, but he wasn't gone and he was dangerous.
As the bout unfolded the Thai began to find his range for shots, countering more successfully and even pressing forward himself at times. It was as if his game plan was based around coming on strong and take advantage of Arbachakov's lack of later round experience. This again felt like the bout was shifting momentum, with rounds 7 being a really good round and giving Kittikasem the belief that he could take the fight to the challenger.
We won't ruin the bout any further but this is worthy of your time, especially if you like technical boxing, with a sense of drama, heavy shots and momentum switches. It's not the most action packed bout ever, and it's not a slug fest, but it's a very clean, exciting bout, with the feeling that either man could take the other down at a moments notice.
Whilst not a war this is a very, very engaging bout, with serious tension through out.
On November 27th we'll get a real rarity as we see an All-Thai world title bout between WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (54-0, 18) and the once beaten Petchmanee CP Freshmart (34-1, 22). The bout will only be the 13th time that two Thai's have faced off in a major world title fight, and will be the first in over a decade!
With that in mind we've decided to take a look at the 12 that we've had, look at the winners, the losers, the match ups and what those bouts really meant.
Interestingly in Thailand the bouts are referred to by a phrase that translated into English as "Bloodline Battles" and with that in mind we'll also be going with that phrase. Partly because it's an awesome phrase, partly out of respect, and partly because it's better than anything we could come up with ourselves!
Chartchai Chionoi vs Puntip Keosuriya - July 26th 1967
For the first Bloodline Battle we need to go all the way back to 1967 when the legendary Chartchai Chionoi was the Ring Magazine Flyweight champion, having beaten Walter McGowan for the title the previous December in a sensational fight. He was also recognised by the EBU and the BBBofC as the world champion. Chartchai's first defense of that Flyweight world title reign saw him go up against fellow Thai Puntip Keosuriya in Bangkok.
Chartchai was the second Thai to win a world title, following Pone Kingpetch, and made his first defense by stopping Puntip in the 3rd round, giving him what was reportedly his first and only stoppage loss* (See notes). This would ultimately be Puntip's final bout before he hung them up and went to study in the US and ended up working for the Telephone Organisation of Thailand, and then stting up business for himself.
Despite Puntip retiring after this loss Chartchai would go on to fight through to 1975 being involved in some amazing contests. They included a rematch with Walter McGowan, a bloody 3 fight series with Efren Torres, a bout with the legendary Masao Oba and 2 subsequent reigns as the WBA champion. Notably one of his bouts after this one saw him battle fellow former world champion Berkrerk Chartvanchai, though by then neither man was a world champion.
Khaosai Galaxy v Kongtoranee Payakaroon - January 26th 1988
Khaosai Galaxy v Kongtoranee Payakaroon - January 26th 1988
It would be more than 20 years later before we got the second Bloodline bout, and it featured another legendary Thai, and a big dose of controversy!
Coming in to the bout we had Khaosai Galaxy, the legendary southpaw, as the WBA Super Flyweight champion. He had held that title since since November 1984, when he beat Eusebio Espinal for the vacant title, and had reeled off 6 defenses in 3 years, all by stoppage, before facing fellow Thai Kongtoranee Payakaroon. The then 12-1 Kongtoranee was the brother of the legendary Samart Payakaroon and was getting his second world title fight, following a loss to the sensational Gilberto Roman in 1986 for the WBC Super Flyweight title.
The bout was a really interesting one and saw Galaxy pressing, pressuring and coming forward through out, but round after round Payakaroon's movement, counter punching and ring IQ showed it's self. Galaxy was actually dropped in round 5, and had no answer for the quicker man at times. Although always dangerous Galaxy struggled to land with any consistency and was often chasing Payakaroon, who landed consistently with single shots. Despite Payakaroon looking the better man the judges all favoured Galaxy, giving him his 7th defense of the title and extending his reign.
Notably this was the first time that Galaxy had defended the belt over the 12 round distance, with his other defenses being scheduled for the 15 round distance, which may have played a part in the way the bout was fought.
After this bout Payakaroon retired from professional boxing and returned to his previous sport, Muay Thai. As for Galaxy, he would go on to record another 12 defenses of the title and retired as the champion in 1992, before later being inducted into the IBHOF in 1999.
Muangchai Kittikasem vs Sot Chitalada I - February 15th 1991
Interestingly there were 5 Bloodline Battles in the 1990's. The first of those came in February 1991 when we got the first, of two, bouts between Muangchai Kittikasem and Sot Chitalada, with this taking place in Ayutthaya.
Coming in to this one Sot Chitalada was the WBC, and Lineal, Flyweight champion. He was enjoying his second reign as the champion and had made 4 defenses, including one over Korean great Jung Koo Chang in November 1990. Muangchai Kittikasem on the other hand was a former IBF Light Flyweight champion who was looking to become a 2-weight champion after losing his previous title to Michael Carbajal in July 1990. He wasn't just looking to become a multi-weight champion, but the first from Thailand.
The bout was something special, though was dominated by Muangchai who dropped Sot in rounds 1 and 4, and was rocked himself in round 4. In round 6 Muangchai closed the show, letting shots fly at Sot who was left defenseless on the ropes, forcing the referee to step in.
Given the nature of this bout, and their subsequent rematch, we won't talk about what became of the two men after this one, because they would clash again a year later, but this was a real fun fight.
Muangchai Kittikasem vs Sot Chitalada II - February 28th 1992
Having become Thailand's first 2-weight world champion in February 1991 Muangchai Kittikasem gave Sot Chitalada a chance to reclaim the WBC Flyweight title the following year. This time Muangchai was entering the bout seeking his third defense of the title, following an instant classic in his first defense against Jung Koo Chang and a close majority decision win in his second against Alberto Jimenez. Following his loss in the first bout Sot bounced back with 3 low key wins, building his confidence before getting in with his countryman for the second time.
For this bout we were at the rather unique Crocodile Farm in Samut Prakan, and this time things were more competitive than they were in their first bout. It was as if Sot knew, win or lose, his career didn't have much longer left in it.
From the off this was technical, but exciting. Both guys looked to set things up correctly, but it seemed like it was only ever going to take one mistake, from either guy, for things to catch fire. Credit however goes to Muangchai for taking control for stretches of it with his long, rapier like jab. As the bout went on we began to see the touch paper being lit and the fight becoming more action packed, and being a technical war. In round 7 Kittikasem was deducted for headclashes, but it mattered not to the result. In round 9 he managed to rock the champion, buckling his knees, with the referee stepping in.
This would be Sot's final bout. He hung them up after this loss. As for Muangchai he would lose the title 4 months later to Russian legend Yuri Arbachakov, a loss in a rematch to Arbachakov saw Muangchai leave the sport for 2 years, before picking up 3 wins. He then left the sport for several years, before a one off comeback in 1999, losing to Shigeru Nakazato before retiring for good.
Daorung Chuwatana vs Vichit Lapmee - May 27th 1995
Just over 3 years after the rematch between Muangchai and Sot we got the next Bloodline Battle, which pit the then WBA Bantamweight champion Daorung Chuwatana against unbeaten challenger Vichit Lapmee.
The talented, though now often forgotten Daorung, won the WBA title in July 1994, when he beat John Michael Johnson and made a defense 4 months later against Korean challenger In Shik Go. He then took part in his first "Bloodline Battle" as he took on the then unbeaten Vichit Lapmee. At the time Daorung was 55-5-2 (33) and 26 years old, very much in his prime. Vichit on the other hand was 23 years old and sported an 11-0 (8) record.
Although on paper a total mismatch Vichit had reportedly been a solid Muay Thai fighter and was much, much more advanced than a typical 11-0 fight. That showed when he got in the ring as a professional boxer and was fast tracked to a world title fight thanks to early career wins over Dan Nietes and Visuth Chuvatana. He showed how good he was against Daorung as he earned a 12 round split decision draw with the champion. Sadly this would be his only world title fight. The result saw Daorung record his second defense of the title and extend his reign for a little bit longer.
We've got to speak about what happened to Daorung shortly, however this is Vichit's only Bloodline Battle and what happened to him afterwards is worth noting. He ended up fighting through to 2006, going unbeaten before ending his career with a 27-0-2 (18) record. Sadly in his ring success was marred by an arrest for drug offenses, that kept him out of the ring for the better part of a decade. Had he not had those issues, we really do wonder what his career could have brought between 1998 and 2005.
Daorung Chuwatana vs Veeraphol Sahaprom - September 17th 1995
Just months after his first Bloodline Battle Daorung Chuwatana had his second, as he then took on professional novice Veeraphol Sahaprom, a former Muay Thai great who had a rocket strapped to his back when he turned to professional boxing.
Dur to the draw against Vichit we saw Daorung enter the bout with a 55-5-3 (33) record. He had as many draws as Veeraphol had career bouts, with the challenger entering the bout with a 3-0 (3) record. Sahaprom had only been a professional for 9 months, debuting the previous December and had just 18 rounds of professional experience to his name. His Muay Thai pedigree was incredibly, but this was still an insane match up for such a novice.
Sadly for Daorung he would go on to lose to his countryman here, losing a debated decision to the new, young, upstart who had announced himself on the world stage. This saw Daorung become a world champion in just his 4th bout, 1 off the record held by compatriot Saensak Muangsurin, who amazingly won a world title in his third pro-bout.
Interestingly Daorung would go on to reclaim the title just 13 months later, beating Nana Yaw Konadu for the belt. Konadu had taken it from Veeraphol in Veeraphol's first defense. Sadly for Daorung this reign wasn't a long one, and he lost the title in a rematch with Konadu just 8 months later.
Despite losing the belt in his first defense that wasn't the end of Veeraphol, not by a long shot! In 1998 he won the WBC title, beating Japanese legend Joichiro Tatsuyoshi and would held the title until 2005, making a brilliant 14 defenses of the title before losing the belt to Hozumi Hasegawa. A rematch with Hasegawa saw Veeraphol fail to recapture the title but he was still in the mix all the way up to 2008, losing in an eliminator to Vusi Malinga. His professional career came to an end in 2010, at the age of 41!
Sompoch Harnvichachai vs Kaaj Chartbandit - March 1st 1998
One of the most obscure and low profile Bloodline battles came in 1998 when Sompoch Harnvichachai, the then WBA Light Flyweight title, took on the relatively limited Kaaj Chartbandit, also known as Pornchai Techasinchai or Pornchai Hadao CP. This is one that we suspect few heard of and unfortunately was the final Bloodline Battle of the 1990's.
Coming in Sompoch was looking to make his second defense. He took the the title in December 1996, defeating Keiji Yamaguchi, and made his first defense around 7 months later, beating Sang Chul Lee. That win saw the 22 year old Sompoch move to 18-1 (9). Kaaj on the other hand was a 30 year old challenger sporting a 39-10-1 (11) record. The challenger had fought at a high level before, but not successfully, fighting to a draw with Leo Gamez back in 1994. Kaaj's record was misleading, and he had gone 21-0-1 (5) in his last 22 fights, but on paper he was still a less than stellar challenger.
In the ring Sompoch was too good for his countryman and took a very clear 12 round decision over Kaaj, barely losing a round.
Following the bout Kaaj would fight just once more, losing by stoppage, in 3 rounds, to Medgoen Singsurat just 15 months before Medgoen stopped Manny Pacquiao for the WBC Flyweight, giving Pacquiao his second professional loss.
As for Sompoch he would go on to make 3 more defenses before he was stripped of the title for failing to defend against Rosendo Alvarez in 2000. He would face Alvarez as the challenger in 2002 but come up short against the Nicaraguan, being stopped in the 12th round. His career would continue on until 2007 when he beat Yuki Murai and retired from the sport in his early 30's.
Sadly this was to be the last Bloodline Battle for almost a decade as boxing in Thailand really did go through a bit of a downturn. There was a lack of big name Thai's to act as challengers and a real lack of long term champions for them to face anyway. There were some exceptions, but there wasn't enough to make a Bloodline Battle make sense.
Eagle Den Junlaphan Vs Oleydong Sithsamerchai - November 29th 2007
After a lengthy wait we saw a surge of bloodline battles between 2007 and 2010. The first of those was a big of an oddity with Eagle Den Junlaphan, the then WBC Minimumweight champion, taking on Oleydong Sithsamerchai. This was a really interesting match up for so many reasons.
At the time Den enjoying his second reign as the WBC Minimumweight champion and the highly skilled Thai was looking to make his 4th defense of the title. Although he was a Thai he had carved out his career in Japan and hadn't even fought in Thailand since his 5th professional bout. Since then he gone 13-1 (4) in Japan to compile a career record off 18-1 (6). In the opposite corner was the then 24-0 (9) Oleydong Sithsamerchai, a man who had fought only in Thailand.
With neither man having much power it was likely no surprise to learn that this one went the distance! Throughout the bout the 28 year old Champion seemed the aggressor, coming forward and pressing the action. He was, however, outsped by the 22 year old challenger who looked crisper, more energetic, and sharper, taking a narrow win over the champion.
Sadly this would end Den's career and he would retire from the sport citing a lack of support and being bored with the sport. It seemed very much like he took this fight to try and get the juices going, but it failed. Interestingly he would become a Japanese citizen and lay down roots in Japan.
As for Oleydong, well we need to talk about him more, and this was the first of 3 Bloodline Battles for the "Deadly Candy".
Oleydong Sithsamerchai Vs Pornsawan Porpramook I - November 27th 2008
After winning the WBC Minimumweight title with his win over Den Junlaphan we saw Oleydong go on a lengthy and genuinely notable reign as the WBC Minimumweight champion. In his second defense of the title he was in another Bloodline Battle as he took on Pornsawan Porpramook just a year after winning the title.
At this point the 23 year old Oleydong was 23 years old and boasted a solid looking 28-0 (12) record, but he really needed a notable win to solidify his title reign. Pornsawan on the other hand was old for a Minimumweight, at 30, and boasted a 21-1 (16). The challenger's record looked good on paper but lacked quality wins and the most notable result on his record was his 2007 loss to Donnie Nietes for the WBO title.
The talented, young, fresh faced Oleydong had no problems here. He was too quick, too sharp and too good for the older challenger. To his credit Pornsawan never gave up, and repeatedly came forward, looking to make things testing and tough for the champion, but ended up losing a very wide and clear decision. This was a win that helped legitimise Oleydong as a world class fighter and was soon followed by wins over Muhammad Rachman and Juan Palacios, further solidifying his reign.
Oleydong Sithsamerchai Vs Pornsawan Porpramook II - September 3rd 2010
Almost two years after their first bout Oleydong and Pornsawan faced off in a rematch and this one one was something else. It was dramatic, exciting and gruelling, compared to their first, which was one sided.
Before we get to the in ring action it's worth noting what thee two men had done between the bouts. As mentioned a few moments ago Oleydong had legitimised his reign with wins against the likes of Rachman and Palacious, and had extended his record to 34-0 (12). He was starting to string together a solid reign and was getting his name recognised by hardcore fans, who were seeing him compile a long run of wins. He was actually close in on the then 40-0 Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pornsawan on the other hand had been stopped by Edgar Sosa and had picked up just a single, low key win over a domestic opponent.
This was expected to be another clear win for Oleydong. Things however didn't go to plan, and instead Pornsawan would go on to give the unbeaten champion real trouble. Oleydong would be dropped in round 6 and had struggled to make weight, which resulted in him really unable to perform to his best. Despite the issues, and an apparent leg injury which took much of his movement, he managed to grit it out and earn a draw to retain his title. This would go on to be his final successful defense of the title.
Around 5 months after this bout Oleydong travelled to Japan to take on the then 6-0 Kazuto Ioka, and was stopped by the rising Japanese star. An attempt to reassert himself at Super Flyweight, showing just how much weight he'd been cutting, seemed promising but Oleydong never really managed to get things going at his new weight. As we write this the 35 year old looks to have hung them up with 69-2-1 (29) record.
As for Pornsawan he bounced back from this disappointment to score a career defining win in Indonesia in 2011, beating Muhammad Rachman to claim the WBA Minimumweight title. Sadly his reign was a short one, lasting less than 3 months as he lost the belt in his first defense, to Akira Yaegashi in a sensational bout. He would attempt to recapture the WBA belt in 2012, but lose again in a tremendous bout in Japan to Ryo Miyazaki, then end his career after a 2013 loss to Rey Loreto, hanging up the gloves with a 28-6-1 (17) record.
Pongsaklek Wonjongkam Vs Suriyan Sor Rungvisai - October 8th 2010
Just over a month after we'd got the rematch between Oleydong and Pornsawan we got another Bloodline Battle, and it was a genuine great one in what nearly becam a passing of the torch bout. In one corner was a 33 year living legend, enjoying his second reign as the champion of the world, whilst the other corner played host to a 21 year old unknown challenger, who later carved out a really solid career of his own.
The champion in question was Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, who was sporting a 76-3-1 (39) record. He had had a long and lengthy reign as the WBC Flyweight champion from 2001 to 2007, making 17 defenses, and then re-captured the title in 2010 when he upset Koki Kameda in Japan. At 33 he was an old Flyweight and had 80 bouts to his name. Suriyan Sor Rungvisai on the other hand was just 21 and had an underwhelming record of 14-3-1 (4). On paper this was supposed to be an easy one for Pongsaklek. He was old, but this wasn't supposed to be a test.
Oh boy were people wrong! This was tough for the champion, really tough. Suriyan proved to be quick, sharp and really tough. He boxed brilliantly for such a youngster, showed ring IQ well beyond his years and fought to his strengths. He knew he was quicker, younger and fresher and used that to his advantage, often beating Wonjongkam to the punch. Suriyan also showed real guts, and despite puking up at one point in the fight he gutted it out and ran Wonjongkam all the way in a technical and compelling match up.
Sadly for Wonjongkam this was one of his final defenses. He would defend the belt just 3 more times before being shocked by Sonny Boy Jaro in 2012, a year that also saw him lose to Rey Megrino. His career fizzled out the following year, before a short, and somewhat peculiar, comeback in 2018. On his return he beat Manot Comput, to try and comply with licensing rules in Japan. The JBC refused to license him and instead he ended up fighting an exhibition with Koki Kameda, who had been hoping to avenge his 2010 loss to. Thankfully that is likely to be the last time we see Wonjongkam in the ring, and his career tally of 91-5-2 (47) is likely to be his final record.
As for Suriyan his career really took off after this bout. Less than a year after this loss he beat Tomas Rojas, to claim the WBC Super Flyweight title, which he defended against the tough Nobuo Nashiro. Sadly though his reign came to an end in 2012 when he was dropped twice by Yota Sato on route to a clear loss. In the years that followed Suriyan would become a leading Bantamweight contender, and gave Shinsuke Yamanaka a tough bout in 2014 and later faced Anselmo Moreno in 2016. He fought through to 2017 before ending his in ring career with a 49-7-1 (25) record
Kwanthai Sithmorseng Vs Pigmy Kokietgym - November 5th 2010
Amazingly it's now more than 10 years since the last Bloodline Battle, with the last one coming in November 2010. Weirdly it was the third in successive months in 2010 and it feels odd not to have had another world title bout between Thai's since! Despite that this is one we've not been able to find full video of, and can't really say too much about, despite it being the most recent.
The bout pitted the unbeaten Kwanthai Sithmorseng, then a 28 year old with a 28-0-1 (16) record, against the 29 year old Pigmy Kokietgym, then 42-5-2 (18) in a bout for the vacant WBA Minimumweight title. The title had become vacant after Roman Gonzalez decided to move up in weight and make a mark on the Light Flyweight, and the belt was then left to the Thai Thai's to battle for. On paper neither of the men had really done enough to deserve a world title fight, but both had good looking records and their wasn't much competition at 105lbs at the time, giving us this bout for the vacant belt.
As mentioned there isn't full fight footage of this one, at least that we've managed to find, though reports from the venue and the scorecards show this was a super close bout, with Kwanthai taking a razor thin split decision. This really was over-shadowed by the other two Bloodline Battles from earlier the year, and get the attention they did.
Sadly Kwanthai would lose the title 5 months later, in his first defense, losing to the then 39 year old Muhammad Rachman. Despite his short reign Kwanthai manage to get numerous opportunities afterwards, facing the likes of Kazuto Ioka, Kohei Kono and Ryoichi Taguchi in world title bouts. As we write this we're not 100% his career is over, but he has been inactive since June 2019. He's fallen a lot from being 29-0-1 to being 49-7-1, and at 38 we hope he hangs them up now.
Amazingly Pigmy's career has continued on to this day, and he fought earlier this month. Before we get to that however it should be noted that he's not had the same numerous opportunites that Kwanthai has. He has only had one world title bout since this loss, losing to Hekkie Budler in 2014 in Monaco. Since then he has become a bit of a global journeyman losing in Japan, China and even England. Earlier this month he was almost gutted by talented hopeful Thananchai Charunphak, and fell to 61-14-2 (25)
Wanheng Menayothin Vs Panya Pradabsri - November 27th 2020
On November 27th we get the first Bloodline Battle in over a decade. Regardless of the result this is a huge bout for Thai boxing, and a huge chance for Thailand to grab the attention of the boxing world. This might not be the Bloodline Battle that fans worldwide have called for, but it's great to finally see another all-Thai world title bout.
In regards to statistics Bloodline battles have given us:
10 bouts going to the judges
9 successful defenses
3 T/KO's (the latest of which was in 1992)
3 new champions being crowned (including 1 from a bout for a vacant title)
2 title changes
and 0 unification bouts
*Note - According the Thai sources Puntip's only stoppage came to Chartchai and that he retired 5-6-1 (2), not 7-6-1 (4) as Boxrec list him, and it appears that his KO6 loss to Voravit S Pichitchai, as listed on boxrec, isn't recognised in Thailand. As with many Thai's his record certainly isn't clear
Today we look at one of the greatest Flyweight bouts of the 1990's. A bout that was sensational through out and featured a true legend of the sport, in what would be his final bout. In the opposite corner to the the legendary man was a world champion looking to make his first defense in a second weight class. We would have expected something very good, given the men involved, but we got something that exceeded good. Something truly brilliant.
Muangchai Kittikasem (14-1, 10) vs Jung Koo Chang (38-3, 17)
In one corner was WBC Flyweight champion Muangchai Kittikasem a 22 year old Thai who had won the IBF Light Flyweight title in 1989, before moving up in weight and stopping fellow Thai Sot Chitalada in 1991 to become the first 2-weight world champion from Thailand. The Thai was a heavy handed and aggressive fighter. Although not a technical genius Kittikased was a strong, powerful fighter, who came forward had a very under-rated jab and was defensively a smarter fighter than he will ever be given credit for. As with many aggressive fighters Kittikasem's issues were that he could be caught coming forward and that was an issue that we had seen suffer his sole loss, to Michael Carbajal in another great bout.
In the other corner was the "Korean Hawk" Jung Koo Chang. A legend of the 1980's and one of the greatest ever Light Flyweight world champions. Chang had monopolised the WBC Light Flyweight title for a good chunk of the 1980's before retiring in 1988. He made a comeback in 1989 and lost 2 of his 4 comeback bouts coming into this, but they had been a loss to the great Humberto Gonzalez and a very close loss to Sit Chitalada, in their second bout. At his best Chang was a legendary swarmer. He set a high output, had under-rated power, fought with an almost unique rhythm and managed to somehow avoid a huge number of shots from his opponents. His ability to be aggressive yet elusive was something else, and he really was something very special. By 1991 however he was a faded force, even though he was only 28.
Given the styles of the two men we knew we could end up getting something very special. And we did!
The first minute or so was spent with the two men feeling their way into the bout. This, almost slow, start wouldn't have given any hint of what was to come, but was very smart and high level stuff, as both men spent about 90 seconds seeing what the other had. And then sparks began to fly as we started to see the two men letting their hands go. It wasn't an all out war, but there was several exciting exchanges in the first round that showed what we could get.
Round 2 started a lot quicker than the opening round and the exchanges and flash points from round 1 became more regularly in round 2 as we started to see a real fight unfurl in front of us. Round after round the pace began to heat up as we saw more and more glimpses of Chang's brilliance. He didn't look the fighter he once was, but he still looked like a world class fighter, and someone who still belonged at this level.
To begin round 5 Chang dropped Kittikasem, with a left hook. The Thai was up quickly, but would be dropped again before the round was over as the Korean great began to show that he could do it, that he could end up beating the Thai, who struggled to see out the round. Kittikasem wasn't going to just go away however, and after recovering his senses he began to fight fire with fire.
We'll leave the rest of the fight to your eyes, rather than ruining the drama, excitement, twists and turns of the final 6 rounds but this really had it all. This is a fight that could easily be from a movie with the action, intensity and volume of punches, along with the drama and momentum shifts.
This genuinely had everything fight fans could want, and it truly goes down as one of the best Flyweight bouts, one of the bout bouts of the 1990's, and a bout that if you've never seen, you need to!
With the recent news that Kosei Tanaka (3-0, 1) would be fighting Ryuji Hara (18-0, 10) for the OPBF Minimumweight title we got a little bit excited by the idea that Tanaka is likely to challenge for a world title in just his 5th bout, if he gets past Hara. If Tanaka managed to get past Hara and then win a world title in his very next fight he would set a Japanese record for the fewest fights to a world title. The question however is how would he compare to other Asian fighters?
Saensak Muangsurin (3rd fight & 7th fight)
The tied world record for fewest fights to a world title is Thailand's Saensak Muangsurin who claimed the WBC Light Welterweight title in just his 3rd bout when he stopped Perico Fernandez in 8 rounds. This bout, way back in 1975, set an almost unmatchable standard for becoming a world champion and it was more than 30 years later until Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko finally managed to tie this record.
Muangsurin was 24 at the time and had had a long and successful career in Muay Thai, in fact he was one of the the top Muay Thai fighters of his era and used that experience to help him on his fast track to the top. Unfortunately Muangsurin's reign was short lived and he lost the title in just his 6th professional bout after making just a single defence of the belt.
Although Muangsurin lost his title in his 6th bout he did regain it a fight later meaning he was a 2-time champion after just 7 fights an amazing achievement that is unlikely to be matched by any other fghter.
Veeraphol Sahaprom (4th fight)
Another of the quickest men to a world title was another Thai Veeraphol Sahaprom who won the WBA Bantamweight title in just his 4th professional contest. Veeraphol, like Muangsurin, was a former Muay Thai fighter who transitioned to boxing with immediate success and won an international title on debut and a world title just 9 months later making him one of the quickest fighters to a world title in both time and fights.
Sahaprom over-came domestic foe Daorung Chuwatana via a narrow split decision to win his first world title and although he lost the belt in his first defence, being stopped in 2 rounds by Nana Yaw Konadu, he would later become the WBC Bantamweight champion and score notable wins over Joichiro Tatsuyoshi and Toshiaki Nishioka.
At the time of his win over in Chuwatana in 1995 for his first world title Sahaprom was just 26 years old, he would continue fighting until 2010 retiring for good at the the age of 41 and establishing himself as one of the great modern day Thai's.
Naoya Inoue (6th fight)
The Japanese record for fewest fights to a world title is held by current WBC Light Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue who won a world title earlier this year with a stoppage victory over the much more experienced Adrian Hernandez. Going in to this bout Inoue was the favourite and was highly regarded as a once in a generation fighter with skills so advanced that many had tipped him as a future world champion from his debut. The rise of Inoue's saw him winning a Japanese title in his 4th bout and an OPBF title in his 5th bout.
Dubbed "Monster" Inoue will be making his first defence this coming Friday when he takes on Samartlek Kokietgym. If Inoue is successful against Samartlek the odds are he will be moving up a weight in an attempt to become a 2-weight world champion within 10 fights, that would be another record we can't imagine many fighters ever beating.
Having only turned professional in 2012 it took Inoue just 18 months to become a world champion, another Japanese record that Tanaka will be chasing.
Kazuto Ioka (7th fight)
Inoue, see above, broke a previous Japanese record when he beat Kazuto Ioka's record of 7 fights. Ioka, who won the WBC Minimumweight title back in 2011 with a 5th round TKO victory over Thailand's Oleydong Sithsamerchai. Ioka had claimed the Japanese title a fight earlier and stepped up big time to beat Oleydong though some did question whether or not the Thai was struggling at the weight. Whether Oleydong was killing himself to make 105lbs or not is immaterial to the fact Ioka was still a complete professional novice.
Following his quick rise to his first world title Ioka has managed to unify belts, in just his 10th bout, and then became a 2-weight world champion in just his 11th professional bout. Ioka did however fail in an attempt to become a 3-weight world champion in his 15th fight, losing to Amnat Ruenroeng.
Ioka begins his climb back following his first loss on September 16th when he fights Pablo Carillo.
Muangchai Kittikasem (7th fight)
Prior to Ioka's there was several other men who world titles in their 7th professional bouts. One of them was Thailand's Muangchai Kittikasem who claimed the IBF Flyweight title with a split decision win over Filipino fighter Tacy Macalos, who was making the first defence of his title.
Like the other Thai's listed here Kittikasem was a former Muay Thai star who turned to boxing, and like the others he had a very successful career. Not only did he win a world title in just his 7th professional bout but he later went on to become a 2-weight world champion when he won the WBC Flyweight title in just his 15th professional fight. In just 29 fights Kittikasem fought 11 world title bouts in a career that lasted less than 11 years in total.
Sung-Kil Moon (7th fight)
A third fighter who won his first world title in his 7th fight was South Korean Sung-Kil Moon who claimed the WBA Bantamweight title with a technical decision win over Khaokor Galaxy after just 17 months as a professional. Moon would twice defend the belt before losing it back to Galaxy 11 months later.
Just 6 months after losing his first title Moon became a 2-weight world champion by defeating Nana Yaw Konadu for the WBC Super Flyweight title making him one of the few fighters to drop down in weight to become a multi-weight world champion.
Moon's 22 fight career lasted little more than 6 years though he was a 2-weight world champion with a stunning 15 world title fights. A genuinely amazing career that may not have lasted long though was incredible all the same.
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When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features